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Milford Road Bridge, HUL 3/6

A Grade II Listed Building in Sherburn in Elmet, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.7821 / 53°46'55"N

Longitude: -1.2485 / 1°14'54"W

OS Eastings: 449614

OS Northings: 432017

OS Grid: SE496320

Mapcode National: GBR MSQP.HY

Mapcode Global: WHDBV.S6ND

Entry Name: Milford Road Bridge, HUL 3/6

Listing Date: 5 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1421089

Location: Sherburn in Elmet, Selby, North Yorkshire, LS25

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby

Civil Parish: South Milford

Built-Up Area: South Milford

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Sherburn-in-Elmet All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York

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South Milford


Single-span, stone under-bridge with brick skew arch, built c1830-34 for the Leeds and Selby Railway.


Single-span railway under-bridge, designed to carry the Leeds and Selby Railway over Milford Road, constructed between 1830-34 to a design by Walker and Burgess.

MATERIALS: squared and coursed Magnesian limestone, brick arch, and gritstone parapet walls.

PLAN: single-span skew bridge with a track-bed of sufficient width to accommodate four tracks.

One of a sequence of railway bridges built for the Leeds and Selby Railway. An arch of red engineering brick with exposed ends springs from tooled ashlar impost bands. The abutments and the spandrels are built of coursed quarry-faced Magnesium limestone. The raked and angled wing walls that retain the embankments are built of quarry-faced limestone with ashlar coping. The gritstone parapets walls are raised on projecting tooled ashlar string courses and terminate in rounded piers. The parapets have deeply incised horizontal tooling, similar examples of which can be seen on other bridges on the Leeds and Selby Railway.


In the early C19 Leeds was a major textile manufacturing centre and needed a good transport connection to the sea for the import of raw wool and export of finished cloth. The pre-existing river and canal system to Hull was slow and expensive and a railway link from Leeds to Selby and then onwards to Hull was considered to have potential to improve the transport infrastructure, and could also benefit local coal mine and quarry owners.

In 1825 George Stephenson was asked to survey a possible route to Selby. However, financial uncertainties led to the project being postponed and Stephenson concentrated on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway instead. In 1829 the engineer James Walker was asked to review the Stephenson proposal. Walker (1781-1862) is best known for designing harbours, docks and lighthouses, having been appointed consulting engineer to Trinity House in 1825. However, he also played an important role in the early development of the railway system. In 1829 he went into partnership with his assistant, Alfred Burges (1797-1886, father of architect William Burges), though Burges does not appear to have been involved in Walker's railway projects. Having resurveyed the route Walker suggested some adjustments to enable the use of horse or locomotive power without the inclusion of inclined planes worked with stationary steam engines. The proposed route ran from Leeds to the River Ouse at Selby via Crossgates, Garforth and Milford, a distance of just over 19 miles. Walker also suggested that the plan put before Parliament allowed sufficient land to be purchased for the construction of a four track line. It was authorised by Parliament in 1830, four months before the pioneering Liverpool & Manchester Railway opened, and was fully opened by December 1834.

Walker acted as consulting engineer, and in common with other early railway builders, had a resident engineer for the day-to-day supervision and some of the detailed design, using Thomas Dyson, and, from 1832, George Smith. Nowell & Sons of Dewsbury and Homer & Pratt of Goole were the two contractors. The scale of the project was unusual because of the decision to provide four tracks. This resulted in a track-bed of 66ft (20.1m) rather than the typical two track line which had a track-bed of 30ft (9.1m). The extra width gave the railway a quite different character from the simple lines and wagon-ways that had preceded it, in the event only a twin-track line was laid; however the track-bed on Milford Road Bridge was more complex, by 1891, a switch at the eastern throat of South Milford station for the coal depot and a siding for the adjacent gas works were sited on the bridge.

In 1840 the Leeds & Selby Railway was extended to Hull by a separate development of the Hull & Selby Railway, again with James Walker as engineer. In the same year the Leeds & Selby Railway was leased to George Hudson's York & North Midland Railway, whose engineers were father and son, George and Robert Stephenson. In 1839-40 the company had built a line south from York to join the North Midland Railway at Normanton near Wakefield, thereby connecting Yorkshire to London. This line passed under the Leeds & Selby Railway, the earlier line carried on a brick segmental-arched bridge probably designed by Robert Stephenson. In 1845 the Leeds & Selby Railway was purchased by the larger company, and nine years later the York & North Midland became part of the yet larger North Eastern Railway. In 1865-9 North Eastern Railway built a more direct line between Church Fenton on the former York & Midland Railway to Micklefield, on the former Leeds & Selby Railway, shortening the journey from York and the North East to Leeds.

Milford Road Bridge was built c.1830-34 to carry the track-bed of the Leeds and Selby Railway over an unclassified road called Milford Road, east of South Milford station. The bridge is similar to HUL4/13 Old North Road, Micklefield, but differs in having a relatively narrow span exposed brick arch, rather than a wide stone basket arch with rusticated ashlar voussoirs.

Reasons for Listing

Milford Road Bridge, HUL 3/6, of c1830-34 by James Walker of Walker & Burges for Leeds & Selby Railway, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an original underbridge built between 1830 and 1834 on the pioneering, first phase Leeds & Selby Railway;
* Engineer: designed by James Walker, a renowned C19 engineer, who constructed the line with a four-track track-bed;
* Architectural interest: as a single-span, segmental skew arch bridge demonstrating a high level of craftsmanship in its construction, detailing, and dressing;
* Intactness: the bridge is unaltered and retains its original parapets.

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